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Phyllis L. Fagell 

The 10 Key Skills Kids Need to Thrive in Middle School and Beyond—and How Parents Can Help

Phyllis L. Fagell is a licensed clinical professional counselor, certified professional school counselor and journalist.

Tools For Educators

We're constantly innovating and managing the dynamics of working in a school setting. Get advice and ideas from the blog.

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Advice For Parents

Your beautiful child turned into an unpredictable adolescent overnight. Now what? Here's some advice.

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In The Media

Phyllis's insights have been widely published and she is a frequent contributor to the Washington Post. Phyllis is available for commentary.

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Speaking Topics

Why Middle School Can Set You Up For Life; When School Is Your Workplace; Coping With The Mess That Is Middle School. Book Phyllis

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Required reading for every parent and educator!! TEN STARS!

Middle School Matters is a MUST read for helping kids thrive. And the author is stellar. Phyllis Faggel is a school counselor who clearly knows children and their needs. I know so because I've watched her in action at her school and leave wishing she could be cloned. But her advice is now available to all in this powerful read. Every tip she gives is practical AND proven (a wonderful combination). She also offers ten skills that every child will need in middle school but also to flourish in a challenging and accelerated new world. I admit I'm biased - I know Phyllis and her work and I'm honored to write the foreword to this book. My hope is that Middle School Matters will be on the desk of every teacher and the nightstand of every parent. What a difference applying this material will make for our children!

I read with a highlighter!

Lots of inside-information for parents about the highs and lows of middle school years. I highlighted lots of tid-bits and will be sure to go back to this book as a resource in the upcoming years! Highly recommend.

A hands-on guide to the middle school years

A long awaited release that has come just in time for me as my daughter is entering 6th grade. Phyllis gives easy to understand hands-on advice for parents and educators.

Each chapter is backed up with anecdotal evidence, and well researched data. Sections end with conversation starters, tips for parents and ideas for educators.

This book is one I will definitely be returning to as a resource throughout the middle school years. Im sure it will be well-worn by the time we reach high school. I highly recommend it.

An excellent up-to-date book for parents and educators!

I was highly anticipating this book after reading several of the author's parenting articles in The Washington Post and several blogs and other places online. The topics she's written about are so timely and important to me as a parent of teenagers and also as a school counselor. Every single article has left me with something really useful or important to consider and keep thinking about... It seems she's put it all together in Middle School Matters. This excellent book is FULL of anecdotes, advice from experts,, and guidance to help parents feel they're making the right choices. It is not preachy or the outdated parenting book of the past. It is full of real stories and practical tips. I have just sat and read this book for hours but I anticipate coming back to specific chapters later as necessary. There is guidance here on everything from homework to raising kids to be resilient and kind. It's called Middle School Matters, but I would really suggest this for parents (and educators) of kids in upper elementary on through high school. I will be recommending it to family members, friends, and parents of students I work with.

I can’t recommend this book enough. I hadn’t even finished the third chapter before I told my husband that he was going to have to read this.

Phyllis Fagell, a middle school counselor who has seen hundreds of children go through this transition, offers compassionate, sensible advice on how to navigate these murky waters. In Middle School Matters, she identifies ten key skills that she thinks are paramount for kids to master and offers concrete ways that parents can help their tweens grow.

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The author helps parents proactively head problems off at the pass, and she also provides advice for the educators of middle school students. I appreciate that she realizes parents, teachers, and counselors are a team working toward the same goal. I would not hesitate to recommend this book to parents of current or future middle school students. In fact, we had parent-teacher conferences on Friday and I found myself doing just that multiple times. In addition, I shared the book with my principal who was so excited that she is having Phyllis Fagell come speak to parents at our school in Michigan. This is definitely one book that I’m happy is in my toolbox, and I will refer to it for many years to come

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Middle School Matters: How Parents Can Help Kids Make Middle School the Springboard to a Great Future

Everyone wants to raise happy, well-adjusted kids, but they don’t always know how to get the job done. They don’t know when it’s time to worry, or when to leave it alone.

Phyllis writes a weekly advice column for educators in The Kappan. Career Confidential: When School is Your Workplace, offers support for those working closely with children and their parents.
Read Phyllis's Column

Meet Phyllis

Phyllis Fagell

Phyllis Fagell

Clinical professional counselor, certified professional school counselor and journalist.

Middle school is a stew of simmering hormones, shifting relationships and increased academic demands. Kids feel unmoored when they most want to fit in. Parents of middle schoolers need help figuring out how to be supportive while still encouraging autonomy. That’s where Phyllis Fagell steps in. She’s lived through middle school three times – first for herself, then with her kids, and now as a counselor. She’s walked the hallways. Welcome to her community – and yours.

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Phyllis regularly contributes to well-known publications and is reprinted around the world

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Middle School Matters

Now available on Amazon!

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